That strange passenger en route Delhi
Posted by Priyanka Lahiri on September 10, 2016
I am a businessman based out of Chandigarh and traveling to Delhi has become routine to me due to the nature of my business. I usually drive down enjoying the breath-taking views on both sides of the vehicle. The 5 hrs, 250 odd kilometers journey has never tired me,thanks to the well-laid National Highway Roads between the two important cities. Moreover, since I travel by car, I enjoyed the liberty to stop at places whenever and wherever I want to. So, whenever I receive the call from Delhi, I get doubly excited – for sure it means new business/ opportunity and also, time to travel and relax!
However, one fine day when the call came, I wasn’t that enthusiastic. My car had broken down the previous day and hence, had to find alternate means to travel. After doing some cost and time analysis, I settled with a Volvo bus journey. There are plenty of super deluxe Volvo air-conditioned buses plying this route at affordable costs. The best part is that the buses are both operated by the private players as well as the government transporters including Haryana Roadways, CTU or Himachal, and Punjab Roadways. Once in half an hour a bus leaves from the Inter-State Bus Terminus (ISBT) located in the City Center (sector 17).
That day, I boarded the early morning bus which starts at 6 in order to reach Delhi by 11 or before noon at the least. The meeting was scheduled post lunch and I wanted to have adequate time to eat my lunch and prepare some documents before the meeting and hence decided to start early. I was all set and took my seat on the bus. It had been a long time since I took a bus and was wondering who would be my fellow passenger. For a while, no one was occupying it and just at the nick of time, when the bus was about to start, I saw a young boy hurriedly getting in and searching for his seat number; I assumed he should be the one. Yes, it was him;sat next to me, breathing heavily while holding tightly a small bag next to his chest. He looked tired and worried and I wondered what could be the problem. Yet,kept it to myself; I am not the type who could quickly initiate conversations with a stranger for no reasons.
One hour had gone by since the bus took off. I was reading the newspaper, occasionally glimpsing the passing beautiful early morning sceneries when I heard a voice. ‘Sir, will you spare me some water, forgot to pick up a water bottle, was in a hurry”, the boy slowly spoke. I took a bottle and said, “Please, Take it”. He almost finished it at one go. Smiled back and replied “Thanks sir, that really helped “.
He continued, “I had to leave home early so that I could catch this bus without fail, had to be at the US Consulate in Delhi by 4 Pm. It’s a big moment in my life”. I wasn’t expecting this and got little curious. I somehow managed to ask him,“Are you traveling to America?” Trust me; I have never done this earlier. “The boy grinned and said, “If god wishes I will; it’s my life dream to study MS in the USA. Given my family background, a master degree itself is beyond our means, yet, here I am, invited by EducationUS center to study MS in USA that too on a scholarship. I really can’t believe what is happening now in my life. It’s all because of my parents, headmaster and our area councilor’s efforts and good wishes.” I am indebted to them all my life” I am going to give back to my people;it’s only a matter of time”.
After a little more conversation, I came to know that the boy is 1st in a family of 6 ( younger siblings – 2 brothers and a sister ) and the father, a farmer, had pledged whatever small piece of land he owned in order to send this boy to US, sacrificing his livelihood for his education. The boy is a born intellect scoring exceptional marks all the way till his graduation. And he deserved it.
I was really moved by his story. I wondered how lucky the boy was to have such good parents and people around him, and how lucky the parents to have this humble boy as their child! I wanted to do something and really didn’t know what at that point in time. Wished him good luck, I gave him my card and told him to visit me in Chandigarh once he returns from Delhi without fail.
Delhi Arrived. The boy thanked and left. I collected all my belongings, and wondered “WHAT A JOURNEY!” Sometimes strangers of travel become friends forever. And there is something or the other to observe, understand,and learn when we travel. A journey in a bus or a train or any other public transport carrier offers the perfect pitch. All you have to do is explore and enjoy!
Since then, I have decided to ditch my car once in a while and travel in a bus or train henceforth!
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About the Author
We are the road trippers, the track bashers, the ones popping our heads out the bus window to soak in that gorgeous view. In the business world, we help you travel by bus across India. But here, we are the friends you make on that long journey home. Come with us, discover the fun of travelling in India by road!